Well, we made it…
The travel plans all went smoothly and according to schedule, and after a very long and sleepless August 2nd, the calendar has finally turned to the 3rd. We have settled safely in the wonderful city of Aberdeen, so mothers put your worries to rest.
Today, day one, was an eventful day of nothing, awkward as that may sound. Upon departing down the steps and on the runway, we were immediately welcomed by a brisk, Scottish wind and a steady drizzle that is yet to quit. Turns out that the boss (coach Clark) maybe wasn't pulling our leg about the Scottish summers all this time!?!
The University of Aberdeen is quaint, small, but very nice. We are all tucked away into what seems to be the European equivalent of a dormitory, isolated by ourselves in a very comfortable and efficient setup.
The afternoon consisted of a jog in a beautiful, forest-like park, followed by never-ending card games. We seem to have taken up a new team hobby - euchre. The staff loaded up all three rooms with cooking supplies and stockpiles of food. The first culinary test will be tomorrow's breakfast! A quick dinner at the Denview Scottish Pub and Restaurant finished the night before we all retired happily to our beds. The meal of choice tonight was steak and Guinness pie (I'm still not sure what that meant).
So all is set for tomorrow's game; finally, the Irish will find out if all the weeks and months of running and lifting have put us where we need to be.
The last thing before I go is to mention that, despite arriving safe and sound, we have undergone a few minor setbacks. We knew going in that we would be missing senior Allen Lyskawa on the field this month, as some of his parts heal from recent operations, but we did not find out that poor Luke Boughen, sophomore center back, would also be unavailable after being diagnosed with mononucleosis.
Junior midfielders Justin Detter and Filippo Chillemi are questionable for today's match as they are both having a tough time getting over minor preseason injuries. The important thing with these four, although we will miss their skill and strength on the field, is at least they are here with us enjoying this special experience.
The only other noteworthy setback is that our bag of team balls didn't make it farther than the airport in London, and coach Weiss' bag is lost as well. That's alright though; Weiss' bag was probably just filled with snacks that help him through the long nights when he must go over 12 hours without a meal (poor guy), and the boss tells us not to worry because if we are a really good team, we don't need the bag anyway, and that it's "actually quite nice without them" - huh?!?! Life is so simple with the old Scotsman.
I apologize if I have been a bit long-winded this time, but I will be back again tomorrow night to try it again. Think of us during out games, which will be six hours earlier back in South Bend (we play on Sunday at 2:00 p.m. Scotland time, Tuesday at 7:30, Thursday at 2:00, Monday, Aug. 12 at 1:00, and Wednesday, Aug. 14 at 1:00).
Thanks for supporting the Irish, and until next time…
May the luck of the Irish be with us all!